Racing Beat: Random acts of testing

NASCAR to implement mandatory preseason testing, increase random drug tests in 2009.

Professional sports organizations from the National Football League to Major League Baseball to the National Basketball Association have longstanding drug-testing policies. NASCAR, however, has never seemed to have a well-organized policing policy when it comes to use of illicit drugs – but that has changed for the 2009 season.

For years NASCAR has reserved the right to randomly test competitors – and many teams do their own self-policing – but starting in 2009 testing will be standardized.

In 2007 Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike was indefinitely suspended from the circuit when he admitted to driving under the influence of heroin. Later Ron Hornaday, also a Craftsman series regular, admitted to past use of steroids, though steroids were not considered an illicit substance by NASCAR at the time and Hornaday no longer uses them. This served as a wake-up call to the governing body.

“What we’ve done is we feel like we’ve taken a good policy and made it even better,” says Steve O’Donnell, vice president of racing operations at NASCAR. “The way it came about was we’ve had a number of discussions with the other professional sports leagues, a lot of different industry experts – a number of those are in the garage, actually – and Dr. David Black and Aegis Sciences Corporation

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